Improved design of charcoal cooking stoves


Partner: Ugastove Ltd. Year: 2015(?) Sector: Product Design


According to the World Health Organisation, over 550,000 people in Sub-Saharan Africa will die from respiratory diseases directly related to smoke from indoor cooking fires. Most households and small-scale restaurants in Uganda use charcoal cook stoves to prepare their daily meals. The Ugastove cooking stoves are used in households and small-scale restaurants across Uganda. 

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 They are used to prepare food for several meals every day and are a natural part of life for many Ugandans. As Ugastove has a big market share and their products are sold to regular people around Uganda, improvements on the stove will have a far-reaching positive impact on peopleĀ“s everyday lives around Uganda. This, combined with the training of young local employees from the slum, made the Ugastove collaboration a project where positive impact was created in the entire value chain of the product.

The overall goal of the collaboration was to improve the product and the production quality of the Ugastove charcoal stove in order to make a better functioning and more reliable product that meets the needs and desires of users. Reducing breakage in transport and increasing durability in general was also an important goal for the collaboration.


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The design team was able to help Ugastove meet their strategic goals through extensive processes that involved end-users, resellers and production staff. The solution was the new Frame Stove with highly improved quality and usability. The Frame Stove burns cleaner and is quicker to light, it weighs less and is easier for the person cooking the food to use it, is more durable and breaks less during transportation. 

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 With a successful design in place, Ugastove and Design without Borders entered a new collaboration to increase the production capacity of the Frame Stove. The design team worked to develop new plans for increasing production capacity, product quality and working conditions for the employees. The new design for automated manufacturing will allow Ugastove to increase their production from hundreds to thousands of stoves per month. This collaboration started in September 2015 and the goal is that the new Frame Stove will be introduced to the market during the summer of 2016.


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